Cupping is a therapy used in Chinese Medicine that has become quite popular in the west in recent years due to celebrity interest and its use in sports therapy. Chinese Medicine is the main system responsible for the development and practice of cupping however this therapy has been used for centuries in many other parts of the world such as South America, Europe and Russia and is a common practice in Islamic traditions . The “cups’ used in cupping are usually made of glass with a very smooth mouth, and many sizes are used depending on which area of the body Is being worked on. A cotton ball is infused with alcohoI this burns the oxygen in the cup which is quickly pressed onto the patient’s skin. The cup does not get hot.
Once the cup is pressed against the skin it pulls the skin and underlying tissue into the cup like a vacuum. How strong the vacuum is can be controlled by the practitioner. Cupping is a treatment method used mainly to relieve pain. When an injury occurs deep in the muscle, sometimes bleeding occurs, causing a deep bruise. There also may be inﬂammation in the area involving the congregation of sticky proteins. The combination of these elements results in stagnation of circulation to the area, resulting in pain. The vacuum formed by cupping draws up the old non- circulating stagnant blood and sticky ﬂuids from the area, bringing them up to the surface an away from the injury so that healthy free circulation may be restored in the affected area. There are many techniques you can use with the cups such as the gliding technique where you slide the cup along muscle to relieve tension. Stronger forms of cupping can help break up scar tissue and muscle adhesions in cases like frozen shoulder. Cupping techniques can also be used to circulate congested lymphatic ﬂuids and sometimes cupping is used in respiratory illness help remove phlegm from the lungs. There are many therapeutic uses for cupping.